Newest Review: ... else's and there will always be something that wouldn't occur to you. Ok, so now I'm going to cover the basics of how I use the rate... more
The miserable, pedantic cow speaks out...
Rating other's reviews: on dooyoo and beyond
Member Name: sandemp
Rating other's reviews: on dooyoo and beyond
Advantages: I'm doing my bit to help the consumer
Disadvantages: The abuse, name-calling and revenge rating
Rating Dooyoo And Beyond
Barring a couple of years enforced banishment (by circumstances), I've been active on both Dooyoo and Ciao for about seven years now. During that time I've rated many tens of thousands of reviews, trying to be as fair and unbiased as I can. I've been described as a harsh rater, pedantic, called some rather nasty names and had my rates abused in comment threads, guestbooks and even on forums, but I continue to rate as I see fit, within the guidelines. Anyhow this category is specifically set up for me discuss how I rate on Dooyoo, Ciao and beyond, so I'll begin with.
==What I rate==
Let's get one thing straight I do NOT return rates, instead I rate as large a selection of authors as possible, so while I'm grateful if you trawl through pages and pages of my reviews, rating as you go, I'm very unlikely (as in not at all) to return the favour. Instead of returning rates I read reviews from the new-in list (on both sites), which means that I get to read reviews written in wide variety of different styles that also vary widely in quality. That's not to say that I'll read every single review in the list, because I won't. If someone has been dominating the new-in listing by posting review after review after review then I'll only read and rate a couple before deciding to give my time to someone else. I'll also not read if the subject bores me or is something I know absolutely nothing about.
Another group of reviews I read is when I'm researching a product, that's right there are times when I am the mythical consumer and want to know what other people think of a product before buying it. The final group of reviews I read are a very select number of alerts, these are set up for people whose writing I enjoy reading, but they don't post very often and I don't want to miss any of their work. Oh there is one more group of reviews that I read, but this is only here on Dooyoo. As the co-guide for the Kids & Family category, I read and rate every review posted within it, no matter how many one person may post at a time.
==How I Rate==
I like to think of myself as a consistent and fair rater, even if others think I am pedantic and overly harsh. The first thing I'm going to say here is that I rate the review not the reviewer and so cannot understand why people take my rates quite so personally. As I open each review I try to read it from the perspective of someone that wants to purchase the product, use the service, read the book etc. Of course my own personal needs are going to come into how I rate, I'm an individual and as such what I would like to know is going to be different to you, even if only very slightly. For example, I have mobility problems so for me it's important to know whether I am going to struggle to climb stairs to get to a hotel room or be able to use a lift. I also have a young child, so with a restaurant review I want to know how well he would be catered for. So it's important to accept that even though 99% of people found your review VU/VH/E, that doesn't necessarily mean everyone will. You cannot write a review that covers every single aspect, because your needs will not be exactly the same as everybody else's and there will always be something that wouldn't occur to you.
Ok, so now I'm going to cover the basics of how I use the rates on the two sites I'm active on.
NU/NH/OT - These are the lowest rates that I give and the ones that I reserve for abusive or off topic reviews. Here on Dooyoo we only have the NU or Not Useful rate, and I'll use this where a review is copied, is unreadable (due to text speak, frequent spelling errors or being auto-translated), has less than 150 words of opinion, is in the wrong place, is of a product that the reviewer does not own, contains huge plot spoilers, abusive or (possibly) illegal content. Over on Ciao there are two separate rates, the OT or Off Topic for reviews that are in the wrong place, and NH or Not Helpful that covers all the other circumstances above.
SU/SH - This rate is reserved for reviews that are poorly written but include a minimal amount of experience and opinion. I'll also sometimes use the Somewhat Useful/Helpful rate where there is a lot of description but not a lot of experience or opinion. While a certain amount of misspelling and poor grammar won't lead to this rate, if I'm having to constantly stop to work out what you're trying to say then it will.
U/H - Now this rate is a real bone of contention on both sites, but mostly on Ciao. Let's get one thing clear, if I rate a review Useful/helpful it means I found it just that, this is a positive rate. There's many reasons why a review maybe Helpful to me and not more, including excessive padding or some aspect that's important to me not being covered.
VU/VH - With Very Useful being the top rate on Dooyoo it's the rate that I give to reviews that I feel cover most aspects of a product in a way that is easy for me to get to the opinion and experience. The same goes on Ciao, the Very Helpful rate is for reviews that are exactly that, Very Helpful in helping me come to a purchasing decision.
Nomination/E - Over on Ciao the top rate is Exceptional and everybody is limited to giving out a certain number a day (depending on your dot colour). I rarely give out my daily limit in a week let alone a day, because to me by it's very definition the E rate should be limited to the absolute best reviews. And then to me a long review does not equal an exceptional review, in fact I'm far more likely to give the rate to a thousand word or under review that tells me everything I need to know without waffling than to a three thousand word review that gives the same information.
==My Rating In Depth==
Ok that's the basics of how I rate out of the way, so now I'm going to go into a bit more detail on how I rate in certain categories, starting with one of my favourites, mobile phones.
In the last decade mobile phones have changed considerably, transforming into all-singing, all-dancing machines that play music, take photos and even cook dinner (ok that's a bit of an over-exaggeration). But for me at least the primary functions of a phone are still to make calls and send texts, so even if you go into minute detail about how easy it is to get on Facebook, if you don't talk about making calls and sending texts then your review is only going to be useful to me, at best. And don't forget about the battery life either, forget that as well and your review will only be SU. What I don't find useful in phone reviews is lists of menu options, specifications or features. I'm looking for your experience of using those features and how well the phone performs with the way you use it. So quoting the manufacturer's spiel about battery life isn't useful but telling me how long the battery lasts for you between charges is.
Having five children, with one of them being a young toddler another group of reviews that interest me are those about toys. I often find myself reading reviews before buying toys for my youngest, and rate them based on how useful I find them. For me while it's somewhat useful for a toy review to contain some description, it's when you share your experience of watching your child play with the toy that the review actually becomes useful. In my opinion a Very Useful toy review will contain opinion from the adult's perspective (I.e. how loud and annoying it is, how long the batteries last) and from the child's perspective (do they actually play with it, can they access all the functions), with perhaps a little about the educational benefits. But, there is another aspect that affects the way I rate and that is how long ago the toy was first purchased. You see, unlike say a TV which once given a model number doesn't change, toys are regularly improved and updated. A case in point is a certain pop-up tent that I bought on the back of reading reviews only to find that it had changed considerably since the reviewers had bought theirs (and not for the better). Although the reviews had only been written recently and they would have been very useful had the design not changed, they are only somewhat useful because they really don't give the correct information now.
My next favourite category would be books, I am definitely what you would call a bookworm and am often inspired to buy a book by reviews. When it comes to rating book reviews, again I rate on how helpful they are to me personally and often find myself rating against the grain. What I look for in a book review is a very short synopsis, that gives away no more than I would find on the back of the book and then lots of opinion. What I find less than helpful is when the reviewer goes into great detail about the plot or characters. I want to discover these for myself, and so find reviews that contain a paragraph on each character less than helpful. Yes I want to know if they are believable, but I don't want to know everything about them. Even quite minor plot spoilers will mean I rate a little lower and major plot spoilers will result in a NU.
The same goes with film reviews, there is so much more to talk about than just the plot or characters. But with film reviews there's another facet that counts towards my rate. On Ciao it's easy to tell whether a review is film only, DVD or Blu-ray and so I'm pretty strict about how I rate over there. If a film-only review is categorised as DVD or Blu-ray then I expect opinion about the actual format and any special features it contains. I fully understand that not everybody wants this information, but I am a bit of a geek and I watch special features. On Dooyoo it's a bit more complicated as there is no way of differentiating between the various formats. But adding three words to either the title or start of your review, "Film Only Review" will let know which you are reviewing. Oh and while we're on the subject, DVD boxsets are a particular bug bear of mine. A boxset review should contain information on all the aspects of the presentation, if you want to just review the series then the review should go in the category for the TV programme. One final note on this subject, a list of special features is not helpful, your opinion on how interesting and enlightening they are is.
Now I could cover every category here, but if I did so this review would simply be far too long, so instead I'm going to finish this section with some general points. For me lists are simply not useful, whether that be lists of features or ingredients, I want to read your opinion and experience. Padding is also less than useful and too much will limit the usefulness of the review in general. Company history is an unnecessary addition, sure it may be useful to know if a company is particularly ethical (or unethical), but I don't need to know that they opened in 1901 and that the packer cross-dresses in his spare time (disclaimer : not based on any character or person, alive, dead or fictional). As much as padding is less than useful, so is vagueness, to tell me that orange juice tastes of orange is verging on insulting my intelligence, there's so much more that could be said. A final thing I look for is actual evidence of ownership or use, I don't mean that you need to provide a photo (although that helps), but just that little something that is the difference between having looked a product description or photo and having held the product in your hands. I can't define what that little something is, let's just say that I'm getting quite good at spotting the little errors that prove someone doesn't actually own the product. Remember if you are tempted to review a product you don't actually own that your review will be most likely be read by someone who actually does own it and will be able to tell that you're winging it.
So there you have it, a basic idea of how I rate on the two review sites I regularly participate in. Basically, I try to rate consistently and fairly, taking into account how helpful I personally found the review and never revenge rating. I always rate the review and not the reviewer, so please don't take my rate to personally. Quite simply, I look for lots of opinion and an appropriate amount of experience, written in a way that it's easy for me to get at the information. From my point of view the idea of rating is to help the consumer identify the reviews that they will find most helpful in making a purchasing decision. Therefore it's all of our responsibility to rate every review on it's own merits as to how helpful we genuinely find it. So even if it ruffles a few feathers and means that I receive a few abusive messages and revenge rates, I plan to carry rating the way I do and live in hope that some of the over-raters discover that Dooyoo and Ciao allow us to chose from a variety of rates for a reason.
Summary: A glimpse into how I rate